C.H.E.F. Recipes (Cheap Healthy Easy Fast)

Roasted Onion, Garlic & Butternut Squash Soup

20151005_182542This was by far the best butternut squash soup I’ve had and it’s so simple to make.

I bought a box of butternut squash from a local farm and with the weather cooling down, I knew soup was going to be a welcomed meal. I didn’t follow a recipe so I thought I’d share my creating with you and I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as we did!

Here’s what I did:

  • 1 large squash cut in half length-wise and remove seeds
  • 1 large onion peeled and cut in half
  • about 1/4 cup or more of Garlic cloves peeled – I used my own homegrown garlic as well as 2 large cloves of elephant garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parsley – Chopped and added last
  • 1 cup cream, milk or non-dairy milk such as coconut, almond or soy milk

Coat squash halves with oil, salt & pepper and lay cut side down on a foil lined baking pan. Do the same with the onion. Put all the garlic into a garlic baker, small covered baking dish or foil – drizzle with oil and close it. If foil and you have room, put the foil packet in the baking pan with the squash and onion; otherwise put the baker beside the baking sheet on the oven rack.

Bake all of it at 375° for about an hour and a half or until the squash is soft and cooked through.

*Meanwhile get your large saucepan ready with 8 cups of broth or water.

Remove all from the oven. Begin heating your broth while you remove the flesh from the butternut and add to the broth. Add all of the garlic and onion. Simmer for a few minutes, add salt and pepper and with an immersion blender, blend the soup until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the parsley & cream or milk and blend together.

Serve and enjoy!

C.H.E.F. Recipes (Cheap Healthy Easy Fast)

Farro Salad

farro saladFarro is a whole grain that comes from wheat. It is a healthy alternative to pasta, rice, potatoes, and other grains because it is a good source of complex carbohydrate which is beneficial to regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, staving off hunger and supporting the immune system. It’s also a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, especially B3, and minerals, especially much-needed magnesium.

Farro can be used in hot soups, as a hot rice type dish, as a breakfast cereal and as a salad or any other creative ideas you might have.

For the summer months when we often eat lots of pasta, macaroni and potato salad, try substituting Farro for the main ingredient.

Farro Salad

1 1/2 cups Farro
4 cups water
2 tsp. salt

Add the Farro, water and salt to a saucepan, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 35-40 minutes until tender. Drain and put into a bowl to cool.
Chop 1-2 cups vegetables, choose from or use all:
celery, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet Vidalia, scallions or red onion, 1-2 cloves garlic, fresh or frozen peas, carrots, asparagus, green beans, bell peppers, broccoli florets, edamame, corn kernels(especially when local fresh), chopped cabbage, sprouts, and any other vegetable of choice  that is in season.

Herbs:
basil, parsley, mint, oregano, rosemary, chives, dill

Add 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil and 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar and about 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Add Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, toss well and chill until serving.

C.H.E.F. Recipes (Cheap Healthy Easy Fast)

Kale Chips

2015-08-28 07.24.06I grow kale in my garden quite well, all summer, so I find different ways to use it up before it wilts and dies. I found a few recipes for kale chips recently so I decided to give one a try mostly because I was intrigued by the method of massaging kale leaves with a mixture in a bowl before laying on the baking sheet. It worked out quite well though I would omit the ground flax seed due to its clumping up.

Here are the steps and the results.

Ingredients:

A bunch of kale leaves

2 Tbs. oil

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 Tbs. nutritional yeast – it has a cheesy/nutty flavor

1 Tbs. tahini

1 tsp. each of onion powder and garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Wash leaves and tear them up into small bite sized pieces, add to a large bowl, mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over kale leaves. Massage with hands until all leaves are coated well. Spread in single layer on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake 1 hour at 300° or until crisp and dried.

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C.H.E.F. Recipes (Cheap Healthy Easy Fast)

Chickpeas!

Chickpeas (aka) Garbanzo Beans

Chickpeas are a delicious high protein food for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. They’re high in insoluble fiber, which binds to cholesterol and removes it from the body; it also helps prevent digestive disorders such as IBS and diverticulosis. Its soluble fiber helps control cholesterol, and helps prevent strokes and heart disease.

Chickpeas may help prevent elevated blood sugar levels, making them a good choice for diabetics or if you have insulin-resistance or hypoglycemia.

Chickpeas are very high in folate, magnesium and potassium which help balance body fluids, protect against fluid retention and heart disease. They are also a good source of minerals including iron, zinc and calcium.

Chickpeas come canned or dried in the dried beans section of your store. If you used canned, be sure to rinse them thoroughly as they usually contain a high amount of sodium. If using dried, soak them for several hours or overnight then simmer for at least 1 ½ hours.

They’re very versatile as they can be used in any dish, salads, roasted for a crunchy snack and to make hummus. You can even sprout them!

Simple Hearty Chickpea Soup

2 ¼ cups chickpeas soaked in water overnight (or 2-15 oz cans rinsed and drained)

2Tbsp. Olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 lb. Swiss chard, washed, trimmed and finely sliced

2 fresh rosemary sprigs

14 oz. canned chopped tomatoes

pink sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

If using dried chickpeas, drain them and add fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 1 ½ hours skimming foam off the top and adding water if needed. Drain peas reserving the cooking water. (You can use a cooking spider or a colander). Season chickpeas with salt and pepper and Place 2/3 of them into a food processor or blender with some of the cooking water and pulse until smooth adding water if necessary to achieve a soup consistency, set aside.

Add onion and garlic to the saucepan, cook over medium heat until soft. Add Swiss chard and rosemary, cook for 5 minutes and add tomatoes and remaining chickpeas. Cook about 10 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down to an almost smooth sauce. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Return the chickpea puree to the saucepan and heat through 3-5 minutes. Serve.

Roasted Chickpeas

1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt (optional)

garlic salt (optional)

cayenne pepper (optional)

You can use any combination of your favorite herbs or spices

Preheat oven to 450° (or roast on the grill in a grill pan)

Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste with salt, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper, if using. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning.

Get creative! Add chickpeas to any combination of salads, stews, soups and whole grain dishes. The possibilities are endless.

C.H.E.F. Recipes (Cheap Healthy Easy Fast)

The Best Meals Are the Ones We Create

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Mahi Mahi with Yogurt-Lemon-Dill sauce, baked potato (out of sweets) and asparagus

I have a deep love for a few things, most of those things belong in or around a kitchen and those things include cookbooks, proper pans and Polish pottery. Of all the kitchen gadgets and electrics, those three are on the top of my list of necessities that I would rather not live without. I remember way, way…okay one more way back when I was able to flip pages in a magazine sitting on the floor beside my grandmother’s magazine rack (I wonder where that went?) on Friday nights reading through recipes and food articles from Women’s Day, Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens. If I had to skim my list down further, though I love cookbooks and have probably over one hundred of them, I can live without them. This is why…

I have discovered that the best meals I make come from pure love of fresh, whole food cooking. Throw me in a kitchen and let me use whatever is available and I can likely throw a good, healthy meal together – given that the chosen kitchen doesn’t stock processed foods; in that case I could prepare a pretty strong chemical $#!t storm as they say.

When you view food as fuel for your body and a meaningful centerpiece for social gatherings you can thoroughly enjoy just enough food and no overeating because good quality food is so very satisfying.

Stock your refrigerator, freezer and pantry with healthy choices and build your meal upon what you feel like tasting each day. Keep colorful vegetables, assorted lean meats & fish, true whole grains (quinoa, barley, farro, bulgur, oat, etc.), beans of all kinds, spices and herbs, root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams, carrots, ginger, onions and garlic stocked up.

Decide on your protein for the meal, add your veggie and your root veg or whole grain. It’s perfectly well to eat a meal of just vegetables, beans and whole grains a few days a week too.

Don’t stress over meals, keep it simple and healthy. You’ll find that cooking can be fast and easy as well as deliciously satisfying.

C.H.E.F. Recipes (Cheap Healthy Easy Fast)

Veggie Enchiladas

June '15 Veggie Enchiladas1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 15-oz can black beans or black eyed peas, rinsed & drained

3-4 handfuls torn kale or baby spinach washed and dried

1 cup salsa – your choice of mild, medium or hot (I used my own home canned salsa)

1/2 cup or more extra salsa to top enchiladas before baking

1 small onion, chopped

1 small  bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup (plus more to top) shredded cheese, cheddar, Monterey jack, or other

8 flour or corn tortillas (can use gluten free)

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of filling and roll up tucking sides in halfway and lay in a 9 x 13″ baking dish seam side down. Spoon extra salsa over top and sprinkle with extra cheese. Bake in over at 350° for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!

C.H.E.F. Recipes (Cheap Healthy Easy Fast)

Simple Chicken Bake

I kept seeing a picture of chicken with potatoes and a veggie all cooked in the same baking dish so I decided to give it a try. This meal was one of the simplest meals to put together and the taste was deliciously comforting. I didn’t follow a recipe if there is one along with the photos floating around social media, I just added what I thought would taste good to me.

Here’s what I did, how it looked and how it came out…

I used 3 organic boneless chicken breasts

1 small bag of tiny red potatoes-scrubbed

3-4 servings of my own garden grown string beans that I sealed with a food saver and froze-they were so tasty-fresh

half bag of grated carrots – it added a nice natural sweetness

A couple of Tablespoons of a spice mixture for chicken

Drizzle of olive oil

Line the chicken on one edge of a 9×13″ baking pan – line the potatoes beside the chicken and then line the string beans or whatever vegetable you chose. Drizzle the olive oil over all of the ingredients then sprinkle with your chosen spice mixture.

Bake at 350°2015-04-29 18.10.57

C.H.E.F. Recipes (Cheap Healthy Easy Fast)

Yellowfin Tuna, Quinoa and Rainbow Chard

2015-03-24 18.37.38My desire to eat simply has persuaded me to spring clean the freezer by using the food that is stocked in it. While digging through it recently, I found some yellowfin tuna that I had bought a chunk of, cut into steaks and froze, so I took them out to defrost. I did a quick internet search for an easy recipe on seasoning the steaks and found a delicious one on AllRecipes.com which I will share with you.

I like fish, some types anyways, and knowing that fish is healthy for it’s omega 3 fatty acids which is healthy for our hearts and cholesterol levels, I try to eat it at least once a week. A positive thing that happens when I make fish is the fact that the whole meal ends up being very healthy and low fat; it must be a subliminal message – but I’ll take it!

This recent meal included the yellowfin with the recipe from AllRecipes.com, a quinoa with some mild herbs and *steam-boiled rainbow chard – (* boiling and draining the water from chard helps get rid of some of the oxalates which can cause kidney stones) I sprinkled a little lemon juice on the Swiss chard and on the quinoa since the yellowfin marinade had plenty of salt in it. The tuna was clearly the star of the plate.

Here’s the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna Recipe. Due to cold temperatures outdoors causing the grill to fluctuate in heat, I chose to cook the fish in a pan indoors and the results were still amazingly delicious.

Try this recipe out next time you plan to cook meaty fish steaks; I’m sure it would work nicely with swordfish, salmon and Ahi tuna as well as yellowfin.

Bon Appetit!

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C.H.E.F. Recipes (Cheap Healthy Easy Fast)

Pumpkin-Avocado-Caramelized Onion Pizza

Food is seen as so many things depending on our mood or our social activity. If we’re depressed we eat foods that comfort us whether healthy or not, when we’re happy we often eat fatty food, when angry, crunchy simple carbs will do thank you…and so on.

After having a rather large lunch while out with family yesterday, I didn’t want a big or heavy dinner nor did I feel like cooking, but I did. I ruffled through the pantry and refrigerator and found a few items to create a thin crust, fairly healthy pizza. So off to work, very little work, I went and the result was extremely satisfying and delicious so I want to share it with you in hopes that it will inspire you to create with wild abandon.

Pumpkin-Avocado-Caramelized Onion Pizza                                           Avocado Pizza

I used a pre-made thin crust that I had in the freezer

Leftover pumpkin from roasting one last week

1 avocado, peeled, sliced, chunks

1 lg. onion, sliced and sauteed in 1/4 cup white wine

tomato paste

olive oil

mozzarella cheese – I used shredded

Spread tomato paste thinly over crust, spread pumpkin over that, later with caramelized onion, sprinkle avocado over top, lightly drizzle olive oil over all then top with a small amount of mozzarella cheese…don’t over-do it.

Bake at 450° for about 10 minutes and enjoy!

You could use flour tortillas for single serving pizzas, everyone can create their own.

C.H.E.F. Recipes (Cheap Healthy Easy Fast)

BBQ Tempeh, Grilled Cauliflower & Quinoa

Tonight, I pulled the wool over my BF’s eyes…well, not quite as he’s not easy to disappoint when it comes to food. I joke sometimes that I should open a can of puppy food and serve it as a spread as he wouldn’t know the difference; he gets nervous because he wouldn’t know the difference! But honestly, I would never do that.

I’ve been feeling heavy and over-stuffed lately so I’ve been eating light and pretty clean all week. I decided for dinner that I would use tempeh instead of meat. I searched a few ideas for tempeh and decided for now, I’d keep it simple. I chose an organic BBQ sauce that I have to make BBQ tempeh. The results were delicious, my BF loved it but couldn’t place the flavor nor texture; tempeh is firm, almost nutty and chewy; a satisfying mouth feel. For sides I cut cauliflower into slices and grilled them up with a pinch of pink salt and olive oil, and I made a simple side of quinoa.

You can substitute honey and butter or ghee – or maple syrup for the BBQ sauce with the tempeh.

Directions: Slice tempeh into 1/2 inch slices, mine made 16 pieces. Put them into a fry pan. Mix a little water and BBQ sauce until it’s kind of thin and pour over tempeh and let marinate for about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and cut up the cauliflower and get the quinoa simmering. When those are cooking, turn the tempeh pan heat to medium and let sizzle for about 8 minutes, flip them and simmer 8 more minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

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